I would like to give credit where credit is due. Videos are from YouTube and other sources such as NicoNico while Oricon rankings and other information are translated from the Japanese Wikipedia unless noted.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Dick Mine -- Tabi Sugata Sannin Otoko (旅姿三人男)

Dick Mine's (ディック・ミネ) "Tabi Sugata Sannin Otoko" definitely beats Haruo Oka's "Akogare Hawaii Koro" in the age department, making it the oldest song I like. "Hawaii" was released in 1948 as a spirit-lifting postwar song about longing for the Hawaiian shores, "Tabi Sugata Sannin Otoko" on the other hand was released almost a decade before that in 1939!

Seeing a thumbnail with Mine on it in the "Recommended" list on YouTube, I was curious with the reason being I know of the guy, but I had never actually listened to any of his songs, and he seemed to be quite the popular singer back in the day, so why not? "Tabi Sugata Sannin Otoko" sounded pleasant and lighthearted, and the Jazz singer's deep rumble made it all the more likable.

That video I had watched was of a 1971 performance of the traditional sounding Enka song, so it probably had a more modern music arrangement. Plus, it sounded like any Enka tune of the 70's so I had no idea of its real age. It was only until I looked it up on Mine's J-Wiki page... the song is 76 years-old... its almost as old as some of the members of vocal group Duke Aces! Well, but for me, the age of the song doesn't really matter, as long as it sounds good. I think "Tabi Sugata Sannin Otoko" gave me a good introduction and impression of Mine, so I think I may go searching for more of his singles.

Other Enka singers like Hachiro Kasuga (春日八郎) and Hiroshi Itsuki (五木ひろし) have done covers of it. I enjoy both covers and they are somewhat different in their own way. Kasuga's one is similar to Mine's version in terms of vocal delivery as I find that they sound quite similar, with Kasuga having the slightly higher voice.

Itsuki's rendition of it is smoother and his voice is not as Enka-y as compared his predecessors.

"Tabi Sugata Sannin Otoko" was written by Tabito Miyamoto (宮本旅人) and was composed by Tetsuo Suzuki (鈴木哲夫).


  1. Hi, Noelle.

    Thanks for putting up "Tabi Sugata Sannin Otoko" and especially the 3 different versions by Mine, Kasuga and Itsuki for comparison. It was interesting hearing the original version by Mine and then the more updated arrangements by the latter two singers since they all reflected the differing enka sound from those respective decades.

    Itsuki has the more "muscular" delivery than Kasuga but even I can hear him pulling back a bit just to evoke that natural delicacy of the song.

  2. Ah, I also forgot to mention in my last comment about the name of the lyricist you weren't totally sure about. Officially, his name is Tabito Miyamoto (source:


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